Fed Reserve Governor Brainard Said to Be Biden's Choice for Treasury Secretary

Lael Brainard, who has been involved with the Fed's efforts to research a digital dollar, is seen as an ideal choice, Bloomberg sources said.

Sep 25, 2020 at 8:23 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. UTC

Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve board of governors, could be Joe Biden’s top pick for the Treasury secretary role if he should win this year's U.S. presidential election.

  • According to a report from Bloomberg Thursday, Brainard is seen as someone who would appeal to both Wall Street and progressives.
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also being considered, is seen as too progressive for Wall Street, nine individuals "familiar with the candidates and Biden's thinking" told Bloomberg.
  • Biden is also said to be keen to pick a woman for the role – a historic move, as the Treasury secretary has always been a white male.
  • The presidential hopeful seeks a secretary who would help drive the economic recovery after the knock from the coronavirus pandemic and avoid dividing Democrats, per the report.
  • One Bloomberg source said Brainard would prefer the role of Federal Reserve chair, but would accept the Treasury secretary role if asked.
  • While she may appease conservatives on Wall Street, Brainard is progressive when it comes to technology, having been involved with the Fed's efforts to research a digital dollar.
  • She has made several announcements on the ongoing research into the possible central bank digital currency (CBDC) based on distributed ledger technology.
  • She said in August the Fed has been studying for several years what effect a digital currency might have on the payments ecosystem, monetary policy, financial stability and the banking sector.
  • "Given the dollar's important role, it is essential that the Federal Reserve remain on the frontier of research and policy development regarding CBDCs," she said at the time.
  • An economist told Bloomberg that if Biden were to choose Brainard, it would signal to the markets he "intends to govern as a moderate, not give in to the progressive wing."
  • It's not a done deal, however, with ex-Fed Reserve official Roger Ferguson and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic also on the list – both are black men.
  • Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former deputy secretary at the Treasury, is also keen on the role, the sources said.

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